Taking metabolism from biochemistry to babies
Surgery in its most basic sense involves the removal of disease (e.g. moles, tumors) from the body and in most cases with an improvement in health within 24 hours. Whether it was removing pancreatic cancer or repairing the heart from a knife wound, I found myself attracted to this specialty mainly due to the need for physical skill and the almost immediate beneficial results one would see after a procedure. Ultimately, like all other aspects of medicine, the foundations of surgery are rooted in the basic biochemistry and physiologic processes of the human body.
Why do surgeons remove dressings on the second day after surgery? What is the difference in intravenous fluids between general surgery and trauma patients? Surprisingly, the answers to these questions can be found within the biochemistry textbooks of any college student in anycollgetown, USA. Biochemistry is the study of gene expression and the chemical processes that results in living organisms. The surgical opening of the skin leads to a cascade of interactions in the immune system that results in fibroblasts being laid and a waterproof scab on the second day after surgery. In other words, after surgery your immune system works overtime to heal and dressings aren’t necessary to protect the wound after 48 hours.
In neonates and newborns, when some of these processes don’t go according to plans, major consequences can occur. These errors in genetics and metabolism lead to manifestations that affect nearly every organ system. From failure to grow normally, chronic seizures, to even death these problems have been studied extensively and are treated by pediatricians and medical geneticists.
I must admit it’s difficult as college student to find any medical importance while sifting through all the various cycles and blah blah enzyme-substrate interactions. But just like a basketball player must learn to lay-up before dunking or a baseball player masters bunting before hitting a home run; you are now developing the foundations for your future as a physician.